I have said it before and I will say it again, but the biggest thing that has happened in all this is, is the ability to truly discover who I am. It’s a weird thing not knowing who you are. However it is really fun figuring it out. Sometimes it happens in really odd ways.
My counselor has said, on more then one occasion, “That’s brilliant!” When I come in to tell her something crazy I did. I think it started with doing a shaved undercut and a hidden rainbow last year in my hair. You see, I had barely ever done anything with my hair let alone funky colors and a crazy style. Growing up I wasn’t aloud to do anything I wanted to do with my hair. My mother would dye her hair all the time but told me I can’t because she loved the color of my hair, which I totally agree with her on, I love the color of my hair too. I remember being in grade eleven and mom letting me do one Moffatt blonde streak, I was super excited. It looked ridiculous. So did the time I cut it all off in grade seven, and when I permed it in grade twelve. But as an adult the most I ever did was a little copper highlighting. So when I walked into that hair salon asking for half my head to be shaved and a beautiful rainbow to be dyed, it felt freeing. It was crazy, sure, but it was me. It was bright, silly, unexpected, and unique. I remember feeling different that day. Like something had changed in me. I didn’t know it at that the time but something had changed, I had started to come out of the dark cave I had been hiding in all those years.
Sometime around this time I also decided our living room needed a change. Literally within two days of making this decision I was off to the store with my friend picking colors. I will be honest here and say I had a really hard time picking colors, and it was thanks to my friend that I was able to do this at all. Up until this point in life I haven’t been able to make a decision, I don’t do change. Even something as simple as a changing in the color of a wall is something I couldn’t have done five years ago as I would panic believing I made the wrong choice. As I painted the four different blues I had to choose between on the wall that night I remember getting that feeling of panic, the feeling of not being able to go back. But the next morning when I woke up, I picked a blue and was off to buy paint. In our home we have a giant blue focus wall now, with a huge amount of family photos on it. And I love it. I am so happy with it, but it didn’t stop there. We painted three floors of our house a lovely grey and did a purple focus wall with our fireplace that I also re stained. Huge difference, compared to the off white it use to be. It was crazy. Not only had I made decisions but I made change happen. And even though, for the most part, we could just repaint it back to the original color, we haven’t. I love the change and it helped me to see change isn’t all bad. Making a choice is not scary, well it can be, but it can be done. This lesson helped me to make other choices on my journey and I am sure will continue to help me make decisions later on.
A few weeks ago a thought popped into my head, I want to get my nose pierced. I have wanted it done for years. But again was always told not to do it. I was fearful. Silly really, a tiny little hole in my nose would heal if I ended up hating it. I went to the piercing place to see if they could fit me in. The lady started to tell me that I wouldn’t be able to swim for 4-6 months after doing it. What!! That seemed excessive, so I left with the thought I would come back in September when the chances of me going swimming was much lower. But a few days later after research I was back getting my nose pierced. It was amazing, hurt a lot, but again gave me that freeing feeling. I did something I had wanted to do since I was a teenager and again I had made a choice. I joked with a friend that I had done my crazy thing for the year. But I can hear my counselor saying, “not crazy, BRILLIANT!”
Learning who you are is something you start to do when you are a child. You figure out you love to bike, or run, and you hate Brussels sprouts. If someone asks you your favorite color you happily respond, “Yellow!” or “Pink!” 100% sure in your choice. As you grow you make decisions like, do you want to be in band, or join the basketball team? Do you like science or math? Is your favorite color still pink? You get to an age where you choose what university you want to attend, or if you even want too. You get a job, you move out on your own, you start your life with the knowledge that you know who you are and what you like. You are you. And as you grow you become more and more you. But you always have this feeling of strength like you did as a small child knowing your favorite color was the best color of them all. Confidence. Truth. But as a child I was interfered with at such a young age I never gained that confidence, I never felt safe in making choices, I never knew 100% what my favorite color was. I was always afraid to pick wrong. Survivors often have a difficult time making decisions as we were in a place where the ability to make decisions was stolen from us. Someone came into our lives and made us do what we didn’t want to do. And so we went into auto-pilot or survival mode just to make it thru. We did what we had to, to survivor which in my case meant just doing as I was told, and not rocking the boat. But because I was to afraid to be me as a child I now have to learn who me is. Learning this is a lot of work, but its fun, and it happens in weird ways, like new hair, or painted walls, going to a weird concert without my hubby, getting a piercing, but it also happens in the quiet moments. Watching my children play, cooking dinner, looking at my husband and seeing the way his eyes wrinkle up when he laughs.
It is brilliant.